BCTF thinks strikes, lockout could be over as early as next week: BCCPAC


LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS1130) – Rotating strikes resume for a second week in our public schools, with teachers manning picket lines today in Richmond, Delta, Maple Ridge and Langley, among other districts.

But there is some hope it could all be over soon, with some surprising optimism from the union that the strikes and partial lockout could be wrapped up as early as next week.

Glen Hansman with the BCTF spoke at the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils‘ annual general meeting yesterday, telling delegates bargaining through the summer may not be necessary.

According to the BCCPAC website, Hansman says the two sides are not as far apart on wages and class sizes as has been reported.

He says the union believes it is possible to get a deal done by the end of June, possibly as early as next week.

Hansman also says class composition is the stumbling block.

Speaking to reporters in Richmond this morning, BCTF President Jim Iker says there are 16,000 classrooms in BC with four or more students who have special needs.

“When we talk about class composition, when we talk about class size, it kind of goes hand in hand. If you’ve got a lot more students that need that more individual attention from our teachers… you need to reduce the size of the class,” he says.

“You need to also reduce, potentially, the number of students in the classroom that need those extra supports… And if we’re going to have all the students that need those extra supports, we have to hire the specialist teachers.”

Iker thinks yesterday’s speech was simply about optimism. “We want a deal. And if government were willing to move and bring the resources to the bargaining table now, then we can start working on getting that deal.”

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